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Crisp baked potato with ham, cheese and cream

Everyone loves baked potatoes. They are fluffy, buttery, and so good that they are among my favourite dishes. Russet potatoes are traditionally the preferred variety as they are low in water and starch content. These potatoes fluff up beautifully when baked.

This is a lovely recipe that goes beyond the norm. It is a lovely mix of salty ham, gooey cheese and smooth potatoes. The flavours come together beautifully. This is a dish I need to make again and soon.

The recipe is French in origin and calls for Camembert cheese. However, you can substitute a sharp cheddar or a Gruyère instead.

This recipe is from Diana Henry, one of my favourite chefs. I have every one of her cookbooks; they are my go-to books for every occasion, from fun salads like this one to more elaborate cooking from around the world. Everyone should have all her cookbooks.

For more recipes from this book, click here.



Ingredients:

4 large potatoes (see introduction)

Large grain sea salt


1 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, finely diced

3-4 tablespoons cream

1/2 cup cheese + to garnish, Camembert, Gruyère or sharp Cheddar, the hard cheeses grated

Salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon white pepper


Heat an oven to 375° F.


Wash the potatoes well, scrubbing as much grit off the skin. Line a baking sheet with parchment and add the potatoes, topping with lots of salt. Bake for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. The potatoes should be very soft when pierced with a skewer. Remove and cool


Make a longitudinal slit along the top of the potato and scoop out the inside soft baked potatoes. Mash well to smooth consistency, or you could leave it slightly chunky if you would like more texture in the dish. Set aside.


Heat a large frying pan with the oil. Add the onion and fry on low heat until it is soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Do not let the onion colour. Add the ham and fry for another 2-3 minutes until the aromas from the ham permeate the kitchen.


Add the cream and mashed potatoes and cook till hot and well combined. You are looking for a very thick consistency of mashed potatoes. Remove into a bowl.


Mix in the cheese and taste for salt. Adjust as needed. Both the cheese and meat have salt so be careful not to oversalt the dish.


Stuff the mashed potato mix back into the potato skins, overloading them. Line them on a baking tray and garnish with more cheese.


Bake for 12-15 minutes until the potatoes are beautifully coloured on top. Rest for 2 minutes, then serve.

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